The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 20, 2012

Storms down trees, block roads in southern Alabama

ATHENS — MOBILE, Ala. (AP) — A powerful storm peeled the roofs from buildings, toppled some trucks and blew down Oak trees and limbs in the Mobile area, leading to some road closures, authorities said early Thursday.

The storm struck around or shortly before 5 a.m. Thursday. There were no reports of major injuries.

"We have a lot of buildings with roof damage -- peeled off and blown off," Mobile County Emergency Management Agency Director Ronnie Adair told The Associated Press. "Some high-profile trucks like delivery trucks were turned over."

Large oak trees and limbs were blown across roads, causing some of them to be blocked ahead of Thursday's morning rush hour, Adair said.

The trucks that were toppled were parked and unoccupied.

Adair said it wasn't known whether the damage was caused by a tornado, and that would be assessed later during daylight hours.

The National Weather Service had issued tornado warnings for parts of several counties early Thursday morning.

The warnings covered portions of Baldwin, Choctaw, Clarke and Washington counties. Forecasters said severe storms capable of producing tornadoes prompted those warnings.

A tornado watch, scheduled to be in effect until noon Thursday, covered 28 Alabama counties.

By 7 a.m. Thursday, after some of the strongest storms had moved through, there were no reports of damage in Baldwin County, said Mitchell Sims, director of the Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency.

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